Maree waves farewell to Nicholson Street

Maree waves farewell to Nicholson Street

There would not be too many people around that could claim they have worked in the same street for their entire working career.

This is the case for well-known Orbost local,  Maree Murray, who has worked in Nicholson Street for more than 45 years.

Last Friday Maree finally decided to stop serving her community after a lifetime of customer service, which can be proudly backed up with her Rotary Most Courteous Shop Assistant award.

Maree began work in 1970 at FB Dickens and Sons, in the electrical department. “I received my first pay cheque and it was for$12.55, that was a lot of money back then,” she said.

“It was enough that I could even afford to place lay-buys around the town for items to go in my glory box.”

After just two short years in the electrical department, Maree then ventured over the road to the  Snowy River Mail office where she helped to contribute to the success of the community newspaper for more than 30 years, with a short time out to raise her family.

During her time at the Snowy River Mail, many changes occured including the change of ownership from the Hollands family to the Yeates family in 2001. Maree can fondly recall gold dusting wedding invitations for people in town and melting the lead to print the papers.

Peter, Maree’s husband, also mentioned a snippet from one of the funny antics that he can recall from her time at the printing office.

“I remember Maree coming home and telling me that she had a large turnip sat on her desk next to her typewriter to compare its size,” Peter said.

“The photo then appeared in the paper (pictured) and for quite some time a friend of ours used to refer to Maree as ‘Turnip’ because of the photo.”

Throughout Maree’s working career she has also been somewhat of a locum shopkeeper where she at times has filled in for various other businesses such as Andrews Mensland in both their Orbost and Lakes Entrance stores, Orbost Colour TV and Dave Brown’s Taxi Depot.

Maree has undoubtably seen many changes in her time.

“The introduction of GST, hand written dockets to generating them on computers, the main street in general has changed a lot and back then I knew everyone where as these days, there are many people who are locals in town but I haven’t seen them before,” she said.

Maree finishes her working career at Orbost Home Hardware where she has been employed since 2003 and leaves with mixed emotions.

“I am excited for the next stage. We are looking forward to travelling and I won’t have to set the alarm in the morning and I can have the grandkids stay on any night of the week and not have to worry whether it is a work night or not,” she said.

“I am sure there will be tears in my eyes at 5pm as I leave because it is the end of an era,” Maree said at a farewell morning tea last Friday.

Orbost Home Hardware owner, Brian Harrison, said Maree had been a valued member of the team.

“Her knowledge, friendly nature and smile made her perfect to deal with the public,” he said.

“She will be sadly missed by our family but we’re excited for her next chapter - lots of travelling the country with Pete and lots of extra time with the grandkids.”

IMAGE: Maree became known as ‘Turnip’ after she was pictured with a massive turnip in the Snowy River Mail. (PS)